Pretoria - Disadvantaged children from Bramley Children’s Home in Pretoria were treated to a "Christmas in July" on Monday at the Wonderboom Aviation Play Park, where they spent the day with mayor Solly Msimanga at the first aviation play park in Africa.
The 20 children from disadvantaged backgrounds in the metro were treated to a once in a lifetime experience where they flew in an aircraft with the mayor.
“The children received quite a treat, they travelled in an aircraft for the first time, and with the mayor,” said Ellen Wuirnen, spokesperson from Bramley Children’s Home.
Wuirnen said the children were excited and over the moon as they even sang a happy birthday song to the mayor as his birthday was on Sunday.
“Excitement was all over his face as they sang the birthday song to him,” she said.
She added that children received school shoes and a school material package. “...for that we are humbled and grateful to the mayor,” she said.
Msimanga said the park would be used to accommodate children from disadvantaged schools this year, and from 2018 the park would be managed in collaboration with the Big Sky Cabin Training Academy which operates from the same premises.
“Students from this academy will be instrumental in educating the children at the park as part of their training,” he said.
“The park was part of the skills development programme for the capital's youth”, he said.
The students would raise awareness on aviation for the youth, that they could take a career path in aviation. The play park would introduce annual talks on different career opportunities and learning about different aircraft, he said.
Msimanga believed that the programme would fill in gaps in the aviation industry which the community could gain from.
“I strongly believe that this youth development programme will help to address skills gaps in the aviation industry and provide the opportunity for Wonderboom National Airport to give back in a tangible way to the communities that contributed to 80 years of successful operations,” he added.